Last Tuesday started out like any other day, made myself some tea and starting a load of laundry and washing the dishes. Before I go to bed and the moment I wake up I am thinking about the rescue and what needed to be done that day.
It is always one of the first things on my mind. Rescue people think like this. With more and more years invested into it you start to integrate it into your life and it becomes your routine.
Dee, a beautiful mis-marked mantle Dane, a very sweet, wonderful dog had had surgery the on January 6th and was not bouncing back like she should have. It had now been almost 2 weeks and she had to go back to the vets to get fluids and more surgery. My mind was always with her and I remember getting updates on her every morning and by night I was trying to send her all the energy I had to get well. I visited her and she was frail and didn’t want to visit long. She was weak and the last call I got the day before was that she was turning for the worse. Yet we still had hope.
As I said, the day started out like any other day and then a friend called me to explain how Dee had passed away in the night. It was a call I was expecting but it still is never fully understood for several days after. You can hear the words but the meaning of them just doesn’t register.
I had promised Dee, just like so many other dogs that pass through our rescue, that I would find her a great home, a happy place; I have failed in this task. For a person that does rescue, this is one of the hardest things to do, to not be able to help an animal that you promised to help. No matter how many good things you do that day, the one you failed at shadows all of the other things.
I can tell you about the dogs that were supposed to come into the rescue and have not made it from complications of surgery or various things. It somehow keeps them alive and helps me stay focused.
Poor sweet Dee is one of them. The simple fact is that I could not help her. It does not matter how hard I tried, I still could not help her. There lies the pain. Not being able to fix the unfixable.
When I am particularly down I often search on petfinder to see what is up with other rescues and if there are dogs with just a number, not a name, just a number. The dogs on petfinder with numbers are usually the ones in shelters and have a bigger chance of being putdown. It is much easier to put down a number than something with a name.
I looked for some dogs and found 6 dogs that I would like to call about. I was sure I would hear from most shelters that the dogs were adopted or going to a rescue. Especially the puppies. They go very quickly. Everyone loves puppies….
After flipping through the pages I noticed a photo of one little miss that I was sure would not be at the shelter anymore. But, being the skeptic that I am I decided to call on her. Her name was Felicia. She is a 5 month old Dane down in South Carolina. A little southern bell, looking as pretty as a peach.
Remember this was Tuesday, it was about 2 pm and I called to see if I could get a kennel worker to answer some questions. I got lucky and spoke to the kennel manager. She was very polite and I asked if any other rescues have their name on little miss Felicia. That means she would not be scheduled for euthanasia.
The manager explained to me that she was going to put down Felicia on Friday but she had gotten sick and missed work that day. She was just going in the back to euthanize her because no one had shown any interest and she was way past her time.
It is that close sometimes. In one brief moment, the life which we treasure is gone. Felicia didn’t know she was scheduled to die that day. She was given 5 extra days just because of the flu. She played in the yard, she ate 5 good meals, she got to watch other dogs in the next kennel bark at adopters passing her by. She got 5 extra days given to her life and had no idea it was going to be up on that Tuesday.
I did not hesitate, I did not wonder how I was going to get the transport together, and it just came out of my mouth. The words I have said so many times before. “Please put our name down on her card,” I will start to work on the vetting and the transport for her to come up here.
Please understand me when I say saving Felicia doesn’t help my pain with losing Dee. It will not make it better. But, I am happy to have saved Felicia’s life.
I do not propose to be a religious person. I believe that we make our decisions and we have to live by them. I do however see a lot of things that I can not explain. This is one of them. When I call and there are literally moments before that dog is scheduled to be euthanized.
It has been a very hard week, for Dee has passed, for Felicia it is just starting. One door closes and another door has opened.
Please help us welcome Felicia thru that door and into our arms.
Jean Matvey, PA Great Dane Rescue